Fiddle Time

1 decade 2 years 2 months ago Friday, January 05 2007 Jan 5, 2007 Friday, January 05, 2007 8:28:53 PM CST January 05, 2007 in News
Two men from different continents. One's a wood-cutter, one's a fiddle maker... Both are inspired by music. And their combined efforts have converged on some major motion pictures. In today's coverage from callaway, You'll hear the stories of two men whose paths have crossed thanks to some trees and a little bluegrass."welcome to old standard wood.""i was ready to build some fiddles. So, i went out and got some wood, cut it, and seasoned it and had it all ready to go to make some fiddles. So, some guys showed up and they bought it all. And i thought, that's okay i'll sell it to them... I can always get some more. I never have built a fiddle," said ? "these are red spruce or also called adirondack spruce," said ?"this little pile of logs here - oh, maybe fifteen logs. I probably had to go through 4 or 5,000 trees just to find these," said ?"years ago, all the old instruments that are so valuable now, they used the spruce for their sound boards. So, over a decade now, we've been learning how to take these things apart and get musical instrument wood out of them," said ?" if you use the spruce its more resonantm," said? "boy, that's got a real ring to it.""there's a lot of individuals that come to us once or twice a year and they're building one instrument. But, then there's a lot of companies building thousands," said ?"they just look at it and go...Ohh... I gotta have that," said ?(Do the instruments say old standard wood on them anywhere?) no, we're a well-kept secret. And, there's a lot of them that don't want to tell anyone else about us because they don't want somebody else buying their wood," said ?"bass fiddles, cellos, arch-top guitars. Here's some bass fiddle wood back here," said ? "there's a couple of mandolins. That's a couple of mandolins right there," said ?"the construction is also the same as a violin. They're carved from solid blocks of spruce and maple," said ?"i build mandolins in australia, then bring them over here to varnish them and distribute them to all of my american customers, Said ?"i've bought a lot of wood from john in the past. And, he ships it over to australia in surface-ocean freight... A big crate on a slow boat to australia where i build the instruments," said" i found i was always studying the instruments i played and how they performed, and why they performed the way they did. So, it wasn't long before i was carving up my first rough crude instruments. And once i started to do that, i never turned back. I knew that that's what i wanted to do," said ?"and, i've only got these two hands so you just get back ordered, and back ordered. And, you can never really catch up," said ?"i'm back ordered now over 100-120 instruments all the time which represents 6 to 8 years of full-time work," said ?"mike compton who played all the mandolin. He was the mandolin player for the soggy bottom boys in "oh, brother..." he's always played my instruments for the last 25 years; he was actually my first customer in the usa," said ?"it was mike compton again that played on all of those recordings. And, he played in the 'down from the mountain' tour that followed the release of the soundtrack and the movie," said ?"the main thing that's driving me now is the sound of those great old instruments, in particular. And, trying to reproduce them, and develop my own sound from the roots that have been laid down for so long," said ?"...That's kind of what it sounds like." In case you were interested in one of stephen's mandolins, you might have to wait. He's stopped taking orders in an effort to catch up.

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